As business owners and managers the past couple of months have been tough, with extra emphasis on the ’T’. We have not only managed to guide our teams emotionally and managerially through a precarious stage, but we have implemented new systems of working, adapted at a faster pace than previously and done everything within our power to ensure that money keeps flowing into our businesses.
In short, during the past couple of months we have learned what we are capable of, however it will not stop here and we have a future to look towards.
As we are writing this more businesses are being encouraged to return to work and many business owners are looking into avenues for a safe and effective return. And whilst the logistics of using lifts and shared toilets may be at the top of your list of concerns, we urge you to look beyond safety and financial aspects to consider a broader picture.
Step 1: Take stock
Before we make any brash changes to marketing and business structures, it is important to take stock and assess your current situation. When doing this, don’t just consider the financial aspects but also the wider business implications of Covid-19. Many of our clients are using this as an ideal time to assess their business strategies, making further adaptations to try and ensure maximum appeal and profitability once restrictions are lifted.
Externally have you been on the right side of the fence during the crisis? It is anticipated that around 64% of UK consumers believe a brands response to the pandemic will influence future purchases and who they shop with. If you have been shown to be socially responsive, it may be worth looking deeper into your markets and considering whether your business may experience an uptick in sales. If you have faced backlash for your response, now is the time to consider investing into your brand appeal, potentially through some PR activities.
Internally, how did your teams cope with the transition to a remote working pattern? If they were creating a similar (if not potentially higher) output, it can be expected that more people will want a flexibility benefit included in their package. Likewise, if they have been put under a lot of pressure or have been picking up more workloads due to you making the difficult decision to furlough some staff, it may be wise to consider how you can reward these team members.
Step 2: Evaluate
Whilst we are all expecting major changes to come following Covid-19, many marketing professionals believe this will only be a short-term response and the longer-term picture will be hard to anticipate.
Whilst this is the case, the unpredictability of the situation means now is a good time to spend evaluating your target markets to help you adapt your business strategy accordingly. For instance, whilst many would anticipate shopping behaviours to bounce favourably towards E-Commerce for the long-term, in reality 85% of UK consumers want to go back to shopping normally once restrictions are lifted.
In trying to predict the future market, it is therefore important to evaluate what is in-front of you. You may wish to conduct some of your own research into your consumers, where reaching out directly would be a good indication for how you may adapt business plans.
This can also happen internally, where if you have found project management tools like Slack more efficient than email chains in completing projects and getting the general day to day completed, it may be worth asking your employees on some thoughts regarding internal process changes for the longer-term before implementing them.
Step 3: Take realistic steps for action
Every business incorporates changes differently, and the way you take steps for action following taking stock and evaluating is entirely up to you. But before you make any significant changes we advise you to consider one factor. Your teams.
They have just been through (probably) one of the most stressful periods of their lives and to implement significant changes just as they are getting back to a sense of normal can be distressing and potentially the final straw if not approached with due diligence.
Research from our survey into the candidate market indicated that 60% of furloughed and 30% of non-furloughed staff are looking to make a career change, many dissatisfied with management communication during the crisis.
With perceptions surrounding corporate culture low, before implementing changes it is important that culture is rectified. Without which you will not have the support of your teams and making necessary business changes will be difficult.
For a better understanding of how your employees may be feeling, you can download our post Covid-19 pack which examines employee sentiments and behaviours developed during lockdown.
If you require some guidance as to what is best for your team, feel free to get in touch with us and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.